Thursday, January 13, 2011

Should Be on Walker Agenda: Med/Arb Laws

In the last two days there have been a couple of arbitration decisions which should cause the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor to take a close look at the mediation/arbitration laws and regs.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is up first:

In 2008, Sheriff Clarke decided to change the department's uniforms from brown and tan to gray and black, but the deputies have been asked to pay for the new ones. The cost of the uniform changeover for deputy sheriffs ranges from $600 - $800.

The Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs Association filed a grievance over Sheriff Clarke requiring the Deputies to pay for the new uniforms. But in July of 2010, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission Arbitrator's decision said that Clarke must pay for the new uniforms and reimburse those deputies who already bought them.

Clarke is appealing the decision.

Then there's Milwaukee County.

Milwaukee County must offer to reinstate 26 courthouse security guards who were laid off nearly a year ago when then-County Executive Scott Walker replaced them with private guards as an emergency budget measure, according to an arbitrator's decision issued Monday

The county did not have a true budget crisis at the time and county officials failed to give the union representing the security guards an opportunity to make some alternative cost-saving proposals before laying them off, according to the decision from arbitrator Amedeo Greco

News reports generally can't tell the "whole story" on matters which are complex and/or nuanced. But what both these items seem to have in common is an anti-employer animus. Another way to put it: the employer (taxpayers, in both these cases) has been told to cough up a lot of money. Period. End of discussion.

A review of the law governing these decisions is in order. The "bottomless well" of taxpayer dollars is no longer bottomless.

For that matter, it ain't so well, either.

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